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MPs to debate Airbnb and other short lets controls today

The House of Commons will today debate a proposal for local authorities to have specific controls over the proliferation of Airbnbs and other short let properties.

Rachael Maskell, Labour MP for York, is introducing a Bill into the Commons calling for the Scottish licensing model to be extended across England, enabling local authorities to set up control zones to limit the expansion of holiday lets where housing is under pressure.

The measure would also give councils new powers to close down short lets that are causing a repeated nuisance to local residents, and returning these homes to mainstream residential use.


Maskell says her initiatives - which differs from that suggested by the government earlier this week - is backed by numerous other MPs who want to protect rural, coastal and urban communities with a common concern about ”villages hollowed out by holiday let investors and second home-owners, and urban streets that are now party streets.”

Although Maskell is highly critical of holiday and second home owners in general, she is particularly upset by short let hosts. 

She writes in the local media in York: “Whether you are unable to rent or buy because property costs are rising as demand exceeds supply, have a son or daughter priced out of the city, or live next-door to an ‘airbnb’ party house, many people in York are being impacted by this unlicensed, unregulated trade. Businesses can’t recruit staff and our NHS and care sectors are suffering as there is nowhere for staff to live.

“This exploitation of housing for personal gain is extracting homes from those who desperately need them. As things stand, unlike B&Bs or hotels, Short Term Holiday Lets are unregulated.

“They don’t need safety certificates or energy efficiency measures, and owners don’t pay council tax as they benefit from Small Business Rate relief. No standards, no contribution, just profit. Everyone searching for a home will also know this is one reason why property prices in York are so ridiculously high.

“On the darker side, we hear anecdotally that in some places these properties harbour criminal activities, from modern slavery to county lines. The lack of accountability is costly.

“I, like so many other MPs that care about homes for their constituents, want to see these properties licensed, fully regulated and making a significant contribution to the community through local taxation. 

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    To be fair this does need to be looked at, especially Airbnb.

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    Agree these properties should have to meet all the standards required for other rental properties.


    Short term rental properties need to be safer than long term occupied properties because the occupants are less familiar with them, perhaps don't behave as responsibly, have more people living in close proximity and let their guard down more.

    Nothing less than the level of safety required in hotels and HMO properties should be acceptable in any short term let property, which probably needs a licensing scheme to control it.

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    It states they don't pay council tax, that's true but they do pay water rates, wheelie bin collection etc. Always 2 sides to a story.

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    We have our home on the south coast, a 10 minute stroll to the sandy beach - we do 3, one week, lets in the summer. Strict guest criteria, definitely no groups of young adults, no smoking, no dogs, no parties and no, unbooked, extra guests arriving. Occasional extra week reservation may be taken, out of season, if we are working away and should it suit us. We ensure our lovely neighbours are not disturbed by anti-social behaviour, barking dogs and guests smoking and chatting outside late in the night. We also pay our Council Tax (which is very high). Not all short term rentals result in a blight to the local community and actually the guests’ holiday spends contribute to the local businesses of restaurants, cafes, shops and bars. With regards to the safety of the house, we apply the same criteria as our full time rentals.


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